Neil Frame to spend life in prison

Rapid Valley man pleads guilty to murdering a young woman who came to his door selling magazines.

By Heidi Bell Gease, Journal Staff Writer

RAPID CITY -- Saying he wanted to "make things right" by taking his punishment, Neil Frame pleaded guilty Wednesday to murdering a 21-year-old woman who came to his door last April selling magazines.

Frame, 41, will spend the rest of his life in prison as a result of his plea. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against him.

Kristina Denise Moore, 21, of Lancaster, Calif., went missing April 21 after she was going door to door selling magazines in Frame's Rapid Valley neighborhood. Her nude body was found two days later in a field near Hermosa. Frame turned himself in April 26.

On Wednesday, Frame stood before 7th Circuit Judge Janine Kern and calmly told her how he killed Moore in a moment of rage.

"Kristina Moore came to my house to sell magazines," Frame, a retired military man with no criminal history, said. "I was pretty annoyed. ... I felt as though the magazine sales ... was pretty much an overpriced scam."

Frame said he had no intention of letting her in or of buying a subscription but that Moore was good at her job. "She was very pleasant," he said, and talked her way inside to use the kitchen table to fill out paperwork. "I ended up writing her a check for $121 for two magazine subscriptions."

As Moore headed for the door, Frame said he was overcome with rage. There was a crowbar nearby. "I picked it up, and I hit her in the back of the head several times," Frame said. "I felt as though I was being scammed or victimized.

"I don't know what I was really doing," he said. "I knew I had done something horribly wrong."

After Moore was knocked out, Frame told Kern he covered Moore's mouth with duct tape. "Then, I pinched her nose until she stopped breathing."

He also wrapped a strap around Moore's neck. Frame told how he then dumped Moore's body, saying he removed her clothes to get rid of carpet fibers and other evidence.

"I was going to plan on taking my life. Everything was crumbling in on me," he said. Eventually, Frame broke down to his wife, who was out of town when Moore was killed. The two agreed that he needed to go to police, for the sake of Moore's family and the community.

"There's no way I can correct this," Frame told Kern.

Pennington County Public Defender Mike Stonefield told Kern he believes one reason Frame chose to plead guilty is that Frame believes that is "really the main thing that he can do in acceptance of responsibility."

By pleading guilty, Frame also gave up the right to appeal his sentence, which by law will be life in prison without parole.

"We looked long and hard at the potential for a death penalty case in this," Pennington County State's Attorney Glenn Brenner said. Although he said he believed the senseless killing was worth the death penalty, proving the required elements would have been difficult. Brenner said that when prosecutors realized that, they offered the plea agreement, and Frame accepted.

Pennington County Deputy State's Attorney Kevin Krull said he spoke to Moore's sister this week and that her family was satisfied with the outcome of the case.

"They're glad that he can never do this to anybody else again," he said. "(Her sister) was happy about that."

Frame will be officially sentenced at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 13.

Contact Heidi Bell Gease at 394-8419 or heidi.bell@rapidcityjournal.com


Copyright 2005 The Rapid City Journal
Rapid City, SD